Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

The Z87-Pro was among the first offerings from ASUS designed around the Intel Z87 chipset and offering support for the forth generation Intel Core CPU line, code named Haswell. The board sports the yellow/gold and black coloration common to ASUS' mainstream board line with more than enough features to satisfy most gamers and enthusiasts. At a retail MSRP of $209.00, the Z87-Pro becomes a hard proposition to turn down with its mix of features and performance.

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Courtesy of ASUS

Under the hood, the Z87-Pro offer a massive 12+2 phase digital power system to keep the CPU juiced up and ready to go no matter what you decide to throw at is. ASUS integrated the following features into the Z87-Pro's design: eight SATA 6Gb/s ports; an Intel I217-V GigE NIC; Atheros 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0 adapter; three PCI-Express x16 slots for dual or tri-card support; four PCI-Express x1 slots; onboard power, CMOS MemOK!, BIOS Flashback, and DirectKey buttons; 3-way TPU and EPU switches; 2-digit LED diagnostic display; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

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Courtesy of ASUS

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Courtesy of ASUS

Continue reading our review of the ASUS Z87-Pro motherboard!

Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Getting even more life from GK104

Have you guys heard about this new GPU from NVIDIA?  It’s called GK104 and it turns out that the damn thing is found yet another graphics card this year – the new GeForce GTX 760.  Yup, you read that right, what NVIDIA is saying is the last update to the GeForce lineup through Fall 2013 is going to be based on the same GK104 design that we have previously discussed in reviews of the GTX 680, GTX 670, GTX 660 Ti, GTX 690 and more recently, the GTX 770. This isn’t a bad thing though!  GK104 has done a fantastic job in every field and market segment that NVIDIA has tossed it into with solid performance and even better performance per watt than the competition.  It does mean however that talking up the architecture is kind of mind numbing at this point…

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If you are curious about the Kepler graphics architecture and the GK104 in particular, I’m not going to stop you from going back and reading over my initial review of the GTX 680 from January of 2012.  The new GTX 760 takes the same GPU, adds a new and improved version of GPU Boost (the same we saw in the GTX 770) and lowers down the specifications a bit to enable NVIDIA to hit a new price point.  The GTX 760 will be replacing the GTX 660 Ti – that card will be falling into the ether but the GTX 660 will remain, as will everything below it including the GTX 650 Ti Boost, 650 Ti and plain old 650.  The GTX 670 went the way of the dodo with the release of the GTX 770.

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Even though the GTX 690 isn't on this list, NVIDIA says it isn't EOL

As for the GeForce GTX 760 it will ship with 1152 CUDA cores running at a base clock of 980 MHz and a typical boost clock of 1033 MHz.  The memory speed remains at 6.0 GHz on a 256-bit memory bus and you can expect to find both 2GB and 4GB frame buffer options from retail partners upon launch.  The 1152 CUDA cores are broken up over 6 SMX units and that means you’ll see some parts with 3 GPCs and others with 4 – NVIDIA claims any performance delta between them will be negligible. 

Continue reading our review of the NVIDIA GeForce GTX 760 2GB Graphics Card!!

Subject: Storage
Manufacturer: Intel

Introduction and Specifications

Introduction:

Intel has pushed out many SSDs over the years, and unlike many manufacturers, they have never stopped heavily pushing SSD in the enterprise. They did so with their very first push of the X25-M / X25-E, where they seemingly came out of nowhere and just plunked down a pair of very heavy hitting SSDs. What was also interesting was that back then they seemed to blur the lines by calling their consumer offering 'mainstream', and considering it good enough for even some enterprise applications. Even though the die-hard stuff was left to the SLC-based X25-E, that didn't stop some consumers from placing them into their home systems. The X25-E used in this review came from a good friend of mine, who previously had it installed in his home PC.

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With several enterprise class models out there, we figured it was high time we put them all alongside each other to see where things are at, and that's the goal of this particular piece. We were motivated to group them together by the recent releases of the DC S3500 and DC S3700 drives, both using Intel's new Intel 8-channel controller.

Specifications:

  X25-E SSD 320 SSD 710 SSD 910* DC S3500 DC S3700
Capacity 32, 64GB 40, 80, 120, 160, 300, 600GB 100, 200, 300GB 400, 800GB 80, 120, 160, 240, 300, 480, 600, 800GB 100, 200, 400, 800GB
Read (seq) 250 270 270 500 500 500
Write (seq) 170 205 210 375 410 365
Read (4k) 35k 39.5k 38.5k 45k 75k 75k
Write (4k) 3.3k 23k (8GB span) 2.7k 18.7k 11k 32k
  • Since the SSD 910 is subdivided into 4 or 2 (depending on capacity) physical 200GB volumes, we chose to test just one of those physical units. Scaling can then be compared to other units placed into various RAID configurations. 910 specs were corrected to that of the single physical unit tested.
  • All other listed specs are specific to the tested (bold) capacity point.

 

 

Controllers:

Starting with the good old X25-E, which pretty much started it all, is Intel's original SATA 3Gb/sec 10-channel controller. Despite minor tweaks, this same controller was used in the X25-M, X25-M G2, SSD 320 and SSD 710 Series. Prior to Intel releasing their own 6Gb/sec SATA controller, they filled some of those voids by introducing Marvell and SandForce controllers with the 510 and 520, respectively, but those two were consumer-oriented drives. For the enterprise, Intel filled this same gap with the 910 Series - a PCIe LSI Falcon SAS RAID controller driving 2 or 4 6Gb/sec SAS Hitachi Ultrastar SSDs. Finally (and most recently), Intel introduced their own SATA 6Gb/sec controller in the form of the DC S3500 and DC S3700. Both are essentially the same 8-channel controller driving 20nm or 25nm IMFT flash, respectively.

More to follow on the next page, where we dive into the guts of each unit.

Continue reading our roundup of Intel's enterprise SSDs!

Subject: Mobile
Manufacturer: Lenovo

Introduction and Design

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As headlines mount championing the supposed shift toward tablets for the average consumer, PC manufacturers continue to devise clever hybrid solutions to try and lure those who are on the fence toward more traditional machines.  Along with last year’s IdeaPad Yoga 13 and ThinkPad Twist, Lenovo shortly thereafter launched the smallest of the bunch, an 11.6” convertible tablet PC with a 5-point touch 720p IPS display.

Unlike its newer, more powerful counterpart, the Yoga 11S, it runs Windows RT and features an NVIDIA Tegra 3 Quad-Core system on a chip (SoC).  There are pros and cons to this configuration in contrast to the 11S.  For starters, the lower-voltage, fanless design of the 11 guarantees superior battery life (something which we’ll cover in detail in just a bit).  It’s also consequently (slightly) smaller and lighter than the 11S, which gains a hair on height and weighs around a quarter pound more.  But, as you’re probably aware, Windows RT also doesn’t qualify as a fully-functional version of Windows—and, in fact, the Yoga 11’s versatility is constrained by the relatively meager selection of apps available on the Windows Store.  The other obvious difference is architecture and chipset, where the Yoga 11’s phone- and tablet-grade ARM-based NVIDIA Tegra 3 is replaced on the 11S by Intel Core Ivy Bridge ULV processors.

But let’s forget about that for a moment.  What it all boils down to is that these two machines, while similar in terms of design, are different enough (both in terms of specs and price) to warrant a choice between them based on your intended use.  The IdeaPad Yoga 11 configuration we reviewed can currently be found for around $570 at retailers such as Amazon and Newegg.  In terms of its innards:

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If it looks an awful lot like the specs of your latest smartphone, that’s probably because it is.  The Yoga 11 banks on the fact that such ARM-based SoCs have become powerful enough to run a modern personal computer comfortably—and by combining the strengths of an efficient, low-power chipset with the body of a notebook, it reaps benefits from both categories.  Of course, there are trade-offs involved, starting with the 2 GB memory ceiling of the chipset and extending to the aforementioned limitations of Windows RT.  So the ultimate question is, once those trade-offs are considered, is the Yoga 11 still worth the investment?

Continue reading our review of the Lenovo IdeaPad Yoga 11 Tegra 3 notebook!!

Author:
Manufacturer: Apple

Overview

Apple has seen a healthy boost in computer sales and adoption since the transition to Intel-based platforms in 2006, but the MacBook line has far and away been the biggest benefactor. Apple has come a long way both from an engineering standpoint and consumer satisfaction point since the long retired iBook and PowerBook lines. This is especially evident when you look at their current product lineup, and products like the 11” MacBook Air.

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Even though it may not be the most popular opinion around here, I have been a Mac user since 2005 with the original Mac Mini, and I have used a MacBook as my primary computer since 2008. I switched to the 11” MacBook Air when it came out in 2011, and experienced the growing pains of using a low power platform as my main computer.

While I still have a desktop for the occasional video that I edit at home, or game I manage to find time to play, the majority of my day involves being portable. Both in class and at the office, and I quickly grew to appreciate the 11” form factor, as well as the portability it offers. However, I was quite dissatisfied with the performance and battery life that my ageing ultraportable offered. Desperate for improvements, I decided to see what two generations worth of Intel engineering afforded, and picked up the new Haswell-based 11” MacBook Air.

Since the redesign of the MacBook Air in 2010, the overall look and feel has stayed virtually the same. While the Mini DisplayPort connector on the side became a Thunderbolt connector in 2011, things are still pretty much the same.

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In this way, the 2013 MacBook Air should provide no surprises. The one visual difference I can notice involves upgrading the microphone on the left side to a stereo array, causing there to be two grilles this time, instead of one. However, the faults I found in the past with the MacBook Air have nothing to do with the aesthetics or build quality of the device, so I am not too disappointed by the design stagnation.

From an industrial design perspective, everything about this notebook feels familiar to me, which is a positive. I still believe that  Apple’s trackpad implementation is the best I've used, and the backlit chiclet keyboard they have been using for years is a good compromise between thickness and key travel.

Continue reading our review of the MacBook Air 11" (2013)!!

Manufacturer: Adobe

OpenCL Support in a Meaningful Way

Adobe had OpenCL support since last year. You would never benefit from its inclusion unless you ran one of two AMD mobility chips under Mac OSX Lion, but it was there. Creative Cloud, predictably, furthers this trend with additional GPGPU support for applications like Photoshop and Premiere Pro.

This leads to some interesting points:

  • How OpenCL is changing the landscape between Intel and AMD
  • What GPU support is curiously absent from Adobe CC for one reason or another
  • Which GPUs are supported despite not... existing, officially.

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This should be very big news for our readers who do production work whether professional or for a hobby. If not, how about a little information about certain GPUs that are designed to compete with the GeForce 700-series?

Read on for our thoughts, after the break.

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: GIGABYTE

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The GIGABYTE Z87X- UD3H is one of the newest members of the GIGABYTE Intel Z87 product lineup. The board features a fully redesigned power system, dubbed Ultra Durable 5 Plus, designed to handle the power needs for an LGA1150 CPU under any circumstances. At a retail price of 189.99, the Z87X-UD3H remains ahead of the curve with an aggresive price point.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

The Z87X-UD3H comes standard with an 8-phase digital power delivery system, featuring International Rectifier (IR) manufactured PowIRstage™ ICs and PWM controllers. GIGABYTE integrated the following feature set into the Z87X-UD3H: eight SATA 6Gb/s ports; an Intel GigE NIC; three PCI-Express x16 slots for up to dual-card support; three PCI-Express x1 slots; one PCI slot; onboard power, reset, BIOS reset, and switch BIOS buttons; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; integrated voltage measurement points; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

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Courtesy of GIGABYTE

Continue reading our review of the GIGABYTE Z87X-UD3H motherboard!

Manufacturer: Be Quiet!

Introduction and Features

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Be Quiet! has been a market leader for PC power supplies in Germany for seven years straight and they are bringing their top-of-the-line Dark Power Pro 10 series to North American markets.  The Dark Power Pro 10 series includes six different models ranging from 550W all the way up to 1200W. The focus of the Dark Power Pro series is “no compromise silence and performance”. All Dark Power Pro 10 power supplies are certified for 80Plus Gold efficiency except for the 850W model, which achieves 80Plus Platinum efficiency levels.

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Be Quiet! is targeting the Dark Power Pro series for high resolution gaming, 3D graphics, photo and video editing, and multimedia systems that incorporate overclocked components with multiple CPUs and up to four GPUs.

Dark Power Pro 10 Highlights:
• Virtually inaudible SilentWings 135mm fan
• World class efficiency of up to 94%
• Top performance and stability for CPU and GPU
• Overclocking key for multi or single rail use
• Professional cable management
• Five year warranty

Here is what Be Quiet! has to say about their Dark Power Pro series: “Legendary Silence, Cutting Edge Performance! Dark Power Pro series power supplies are renowned as the world’s quietest PSUs in the high performance category. They range in capacity from 550W to 1200W, feature astonishingly high power efficiencies, and are appropriate for the world’s toughest computing tasks – particularly where quiet is as much a priority as raw power.

The Dark Power Pro 10 850W model takes a giant step further with an all-new design topology that delivers 80Plus Platinum performance, the world’s highest energy efficiency certification. Add to that an unparalleled array of enhancements that augment this unit’s compatibility, convenience of use, reliability, and safety, and the result is simply a power supply without equal. Simply put, this is the highest-powered, most technologically-advanced power supply be quiet! has ever built.

Please continue reading our Dark Power Pro 10 850W power supply review!!!

Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

Kepler-based Mobile GPUs

Late last month, just before the tech world blew up from the mess that is Computex, NVIDIA announced a new line of mobility discrete graphics parts under the GTX 700M series label.  At the time we simply posted some news and specifications about the new products but left performance evaluation for a later time.  Today we have that for the highest end offering, the GeForce GTX 780M. 

As with most mobility GPU releases it seems, the GTX 700M series is not really a new GPU and only offers cursory feature improvements.  Based completely on the Kepler line of parts, the GTX 700M will range from 1536 CUDA cores on the GTX 780M to 768 cores on the GTX 760M. 

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The flagship GTX 780M is essentially a desktop GTX 680 card in a mobile form factor with lower clock speeds.  With 1536 CUDA cores running at 823 MHz and boosting to higher speeds depending on the notebook configuration, a 256-bit memory controller running at 5 GHz, the GTX 780M will likely be the fastest mobile GPU you can buy.  (And we’ll be testing that in the coming pages.) 

The GTX 760M, 765M and 770M offering ranges of performance that scale down to 768 cores at 657 MHz.  NVIDIA claims we’ll see the GTX 760M in systems as small as 14-in and below with weights at 2kg or so from vendors like MSI and Acer.  For Ultrabooks and thinner machines you’ll have to step down to smaller, less power hungry GPUs like the GT 750 and 740 but even then we expect NVIDIA to have much faster gaming performance than the Haswell-based processor graphics.

Continue reading our performance review of the new NVIDIA GeForce GTX 780M mobility GPU!!

Author:
Manufacturer: NVIDIA

A necessary gesture

NVIDIA views the gaming landscape as a constantly shifting medium that starts with the PC.  But the company also sees mobile gaming, cloud gaming and even console gaming as part of the overall ecosystem.  But that is all tied together by an investment in content – the game developers and game publishers that make the games that we play on PCs, tablets, phones and consoles.

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The slide above shows NVIDIA targeting for each segment – expect for consoles obviously.  NVIDIA GRID will address the cloud gaming infrastructure, GeForce and the GeForce Experience will continue with the PC systems and NVIDIA SHIELD and the Tegra SoC will get the focus for the mobile and tablet spaces.  I find it interesting that NVIDIA has specifically called out Steam under the PC – maybe a hint of the future for the upcoming Steam Box?

The primary point of focus for today’s press meeting was to talk about the commitment that NVIDIA has to the gaming world and to developers.  AMD has been talking up their 4-point attack on gaming that starts really with the dominance in the console markets.  But NVIDIA has been the leader in the PC world for many years and doesn’t see that changing.

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With several global testing facilities, the most impressive of which exists in Russia, NVIDIA tests more games, more hardware and more settings combinations than you can possibly imagine.  They tune drivers and find optimal playing settings for more than 100 games that are now wrapped up into the GeForce Experience software.  They write tools for developers to find software bottlenecks and test for game streaming latency (with the upcoming SHIELD). They invest more in those areas than any other hardware vendor.

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This is a list of technologies that NVIDIA claims they invented or developed – an impressive list that includes things like programmable shaders, GPU compute, Boost technology and more. 

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Many of these turned out to be very important in the development and advancement of gaming – not for PCs but for ALL gaming. 

Continue reading our editorial on NVIDIA's stance on it's future in PC gaming!!

Author:
Manufacturer: ASUS

JJ pays PC Perspective a visit!

In case you hadn't heard, on June the 4th, (world famous) JJ Guerrero from ASUS stopped by the PC Perspective offices to help host a live stream focused on Z87 platforms and the Intel Haswell processor.  Since Intel decided to launch on a Saturday morning, you might have missed the boat: the Core i7-4770K was reviewed right here on PC Perspective and the results are pretty good. 

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Motherboards, we got motherboards here!!

Along with Haswell though is the release of the new Z87 chipset and with THAT, about 100 different ASUS motherboards.  I exaggerate, but only a little.  In our live stream that aired for about 4.5 hours, JJ and I discussed about 20 different motherboard ranging from Mini-ITX options to the budget-minded Z87-A and even the ROG Maximus VI Extreme! 

Below you will find an on-demand version of the stream, broken up into five segments. 

 

ASUS Z87 Motherboard Segmentation

This first segment details the mindset ASUS had when creating the four different motherboard product lines: Mainstream, Workstation, TUF and ROG.  Why do they need all of these options and what features and quality points are common across the entire families? 

 

ASUS Mainstream Z87 Motherboard Lineup

ASUS' new mainstream line of motherboards with the z87 chipset range from the Z87-A to the Z87-Deluxe/Dual.  JJ talks about the features that are added as you move up the product stack so that you can find the option that fits your platform needs and budget.

Continue rearding our recap of the ASUS/PC Perspective Z87 live stream for more videos!!

Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: AMD

Trinity... but Better!

Richland.  We have been hearing this name for a solid nine months.  Originally Richland was going to be a low end Trinity model that was budget oriented (or at least that was the context we heard it in).  Turns out Richland is something quite different, though the product group does extend all the way from the budget products up to mainstream prices.  We have seen both AMD and Intel make speed bin updates throughout the years with their products, but that seems like it is becoming a thing of the past.  Instead, AMD is refreshing their Trinity product in a pretty significant matter.  It is not simply a matter of binning these chips up a notch.

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Trinity was released last Fall and it was a solid product in terms of overall performance and capabilities.  It was well worth the price that AMD charged, especially when compared to Intel processors that would often be significantly slower in terms of graphics.  The “Piledriver” architecture powers both Trinity and Richland, and it is an improved version of the original “Bulldozer” architecture.  Piledriver included some small IPC gains, but the biggest advantage given was in terms of power.  It is a much more power efficient architecture that can be clocked higher than the original Bulldozer parts.  Trinity turned out to be a power sipping part for both mobile and desktop.  In ways, it helped to really keep AMD afloat.

It turns out there were still some surprises in store from Trinity, and they have only been exposed by the latest Richland parts.  AMD is hoping to keep in front of Intel in terms of graphics performance and compatibility, even in the face of the latest Haswell parts.  While AMD has not ported over GCN to the Trinity/Richland lineup, the VLIW4 unit present in the current parts is still very competitive.  What is perhaps more important, the software support for both 3D applications and GPGPU is outstanding.

Click here to read the entire review on the AMD A10-6800K and A10-6700.

Manufacturer: Intel

An new era for computing? Or, just a bit of catching up?

Early Tuesday, at 2am for viewers in eastern North America, Intel performed their Computex 2013 keynote to officially kick off Haswell. Unlike ASUS from the night prior, Intel did not announce a barrage of new products; the purpose is to promote future technologies and the new products of their OEM and ODM partners. In all, there was a pretty wide variety of discussed topics.

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Intel carried on with the computational era analogy: the 80's was dominated by mainframes; the 90's were predominantly client-server; and the 2000's brought the internet to the forefront. While true, they did not explicitly mention how each era never actually died but rather just bled through: we still use mainframes, especially with cloud infrastructure; we still use client-server; and just about no-one would argue that the internet has been displaced, despite its struggle against semi-native apps.

Intel believes that we are currently in the two-in-one era, which they probably mean "multiple-in-one" due to devices such as the ASUS Transformer Book Trio. They created a tagline, almost a mantra, illustrating their vision:

"It's a laptop when you need it; it's a tablet when you want it."

But before elaborating, they wanted to discuss their position in the mobile market. They believe they are becoming a major player in the mobile market with key design wins and outperforming some incumbent system on a chips (SoCs). The upcoming Silvermont architecture pines to be fill in the gaps below Haswell, driving smartphones and tablets and stretching upward to include entry-level notebooks and all-in-one PCs. The architecture promises to scale between offering three-fold more performance than its past generation, or a fifth of the power for equivalent performance.

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Ryan discussed Silvermont last month, be sure to give his thoughts a browse for more depth.

Also, click to read on after the break for my thoughts on the Intel keynote.

Subject: Memory
Manufacturer: Corsair

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

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Courtesy of Corsair

Corsair Vengeance Pro DDR3 memory is the latest edition to their award winning Vengeance line of memory. Corsair re-engineered the included heat sinks for better performance and even designed in the ability to customize the module color via a removable aluminum clip along the top of the modules.

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Courtesy of Corsair

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Courtesy of Corsair

The Vengeance Pro modules come in three different color schemes - black and red, black and blue, and black and silver. The modules themselves are optimized for use with the 4th generation Intel® Core™ “Haswell” platform and include support for the latest version of Intel XMP (Extreme Memory Profile), XMP 1.3. The modules themselves are available at rated speed grades from 1600MHz to 2933MHz, in 8GB, 16GB, and 32GB configurations.

Technical Specifications (taken from the Corsair website)

Size Speed DIMM Count Part Number
16GB 2933MHz, 12-14-14-36, 1.65V 4 CMY16GX3M4A2933C12R
32GB 2800 MHz, 12-14-14-36, 1.65V 4 CMY32GX3M4A2800C12R
32GB 2666 MHz, 11-13-13-35, 1.65V 4 CMY32GX3M4A2666C11R
16GB 2666 MHz, 11-13-13-35, 1.65V 2 CMY16GX3M2A2666C11R
32GB 2400MHz, 10-12-12-31, 1.65V 4 CMY32GX3M4A2400C10R
16GB 2400MHz, 10-12-12-31, 1.65V 2 CMY16GX3M2A2400C10R
32GB 2133 MHz, 11-11-11-27, 1.5V 4 CMY32GX3M4A2133C11
16GB 2133 MHz, 11-11-11-27, 1.5V 2 CMY16GX3M2A2133C11R
8GB 2133 MHz, 11-11-11-27, 1.5V 2 CMY8GX3M2A2133C11
32GB 1866 MHz, 9-10-9-27, 1.5V 4 CMY32GX3M4A1866C9
16GB 1866 MHz, 9-10-9-27, 1.5V 2 CMY16GX3M2A1866C9
8GB 1866 MHz, 9-10-9-27, 1.5V 2 CMY8GX3M2A1866C9
32GB 1600 MHz, 9-9-9-24, 1.5V 4 CMY32GX3M4A1600C9
16GB 1600 MHz, 9-9-9-24, 1.5V 2 CMY16GX3M2A1600C9
8GB 1600 MHz, 9-9-9-24, 1.5V 2 CMY8GX3M2A1600C9

Continue reading our review of the Corsair Vengeance Pro memory modules!

Author:
Subject: Processors, Mobile
Manufacturer: ARM
Tagged: t622, mali, cortex, arm, A9, A15, a12

Cortex-A12 fills a gap

Starting off Computex with an interesting announcement, ARM is talking about a new Cortex-A12 core that will attempt to address a performance gap in the SoC ecosystem between the A9 and A15.  In the battle to compete with Krait and Intel's Silvermont architecture due in late 2013, ARM definitely needed to address the separation in performance and efficiency of the A9 and A15. 

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Source: ARM.  Top to bottom: Cortex-A15, A12, A9 die size estimate

Targeted at mid-range devices that tend to be more cost (and thus die-size) limited, the Cortex-A12 will ship in late 2014 for product sampling and you should begin seeing hardware for sale in early 2015.

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Architecturally, the changes for the upcoming A12 core revolve around a move to fully out of order dual-issue design including the integrated floating point units.  The execution units are faster and the memory design has been improved but ARM wasn't ready to talk about specifics with me yet; expect that later in the year. 

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ARM claims this results in a 40% performance gain for the Cortex-A12 over the Cortex-A9, tested in SPECint.  Because product won't even start sampling until late in 2014 we have no way to verify this data yet or to evaluate efficiency claims.  That time lag between announcement and release will also give competitors like Intel, AMD and even Qualcomm time to answer back with potential earlier availability.

Continue reading our overview of the newly announced ARM Cortex-A12 and Mali-T622!!

Author:
Subject: Processors
Manufacturer: Intel

Haswell - A New Architecture

Thanks for stopping by our coverage of the Intel Haswell, 4th Generation Core processor and Z87 chipset release!  We have a lot of different stories for you to check out and I wanted to be sure you knew about them all. 

  1. PCPer Live! ASUS Z87 Motherboard and Intel Haswell Live Event! - Tuesday, June 4th we will be hosting a live streaming event with JJ from ASUS.  Stop by to learn about Z87 and overclocking Haswell and to win some motherboards and graphics cards!
  2. ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme Motherboard Review
  3. MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming Motherboard Review
  4. ASUS Gryphon Z87 Micro-ATX Motherboard Review

 

This spring has been unusually busy for us here at PC Perspective - with everything from new APU releases from AMD, new graphics cards from NVIDIA and now new desktop and mobile processors from Intel.  There has never been a better time to be a technology enthusiast though some would argue that the days of the enthusiast PC builder are on the decline.  Looking at the revived GPU wars and the launch of Intel's Haswell architecture, 4th Generation Core processors we couldn't disagree more. 

Built on the same 22nm process technology that Ivy Bridge brought to the world, Haswell is a new architecture from Intel that really changes focus for the company towards a single homogenous design that has the ability to span wide ranging markets.  From tablets to performance workstations, Haswell will soon finds its way into just about every crevasse of your technology life. 

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Today we focus on the desktop though - the release of the new Intel Core i7-4770K, fully unlocked, LGA1150 processor built for the Z87 chipset and DIY builders everywhere.  In this review we'll discuss the architectural changes Haswell brings, the overclocking capabilities and limitations of the new design, application performance, graphics performance and quite a bit more. 

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Haswell remains a quad-core processor built on 1.4 billion transistors in a die measuring 177 mm2 with integrated processor graphics, shared L3 cache, dual channel DDR3 memory controller.  But much has changed - let's dive in.

Continue reading our review of the new Hawell architecture and the Core i7-4770K processor!!

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Thanks for stopping by our coverage of the Intel Haswell, 4th Generation Core processor and Z87 chipset release!  We have a lot of different stories for you to check out and I wanted to be sure you knew about them all. 

  1. The Haswell Review - Intel Core i7-4770K Performance and Architecture
  2. PCPer Live! ASUS Z87 Motherboard and Intel Haswell Live Event! - Tuesday, June 4th we will be hosting a live streaming event with JJ from ASUS.  Stop by to learn about Z87 and overclocking Haswell and to win some motherboards and graphics cards!
  3. MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming Motherboard Review
  4. ASUS Gryphon Z87 Micro-ATX Motherboard Review

 

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

As the flagship member of the ROG (Republic of Gamers) motherboard line, the ASUS Maximus VI Extreme has everything you've come to expect from an ROG Extreme line board - killer styling, insane performance potential, and more than enough features and accessories for any enthusiast. ASUS decided to up the ante for the Intel Z87-based Maximus VI Extreme, including the OC Panel . The OC Panel is a standalone device with integrated LCD display used for board monitoring and overclocking. To gage the board's performance, we put the ASUS Maximus VI Extreme through our rigorous suite of tests. At a retail price of $399.00, this board would make a good crown jewel for anyone's high-end system.

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Courtesy of ASUS

In designing the ASUS Maximus VI Extreme board, ASUS designed in a total of 8 digital power phases for the CPU's power delivery system with an additional 2 digital power phases reserved for use by the onboard memory. ASUS integrated the following features into the Maximum VI Extreme: 10 SATA 3 ports; an M.2 (NGFF) SSD slot integrated into the ASUS mPCIe Combo II card; an Intel I217-V GigE NIC; an Intel 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth controller integrated into the ASUS mPCIe Combo II card; five PCI-Express x16 slots for up to quad-card support; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; onboard power, reset, CMOS clear, MemOK!, BIOS Flashback, ROG Connect, DirectKey, and BIOS switch buttons; Probelt voltage measurement points; OC Panel support; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

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Courtesy of ASUS

Continue reading our review of the ASUS Maximus VI Extreme motherboard!

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: MSI
Tagged:

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Thanks for stopping by our coverage of the Intel Haswell, 4th Generation Core processor and Z87 chipset release!  We have a lot of different stories for you to check out and I wanted to be sure you knew about them all. 

  1. The Haswell Review - Intel Core i7-4770K Performance and Architecture
  2. PCPer Live! ASUS Z87 Motherboard and Intel Haswell Live Event! - Tuesday, June 4th we will be hosting a live streaming event with JJ from ASUS.  Stop by to learn about Z87 and overclocking Haswell and to win some motherboards and graphics cards!
  3. ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme Motherboard Review
  4. ASUS Gryphon Z87 Micro-ATX Motherboard Review

 

Introduction

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Courtesy of MSI

The Z87-GD65 Gaming board is MSI's flagship Intel Z87 board in their Gaming line of produces. MSI packed the board full of features including an integrated Killer NIC and an illuminated audio chipset. The board is stunning with its red and black coloration and the series' dragon logo prominently imbedded in the chipset heat sink. At a retail price of $189.99, this board would be a nice addition to any enthusiast system.

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Courtesy of MSI

MSI designed the Z87-GD65 Gaming with an impressive 12-phase digital power delivery system for the CPU alone, guaranteeing system stability under the most stressful situations. The Z87-GD65 Gaming board includes the following integrated features: eight SATA 6Gb/s ports; an mSATA 6Gb/s port; a Killer E2205 GigE NIC; three PCI-Express x16 slots for up to tri-card support; four PCI-Express x1 slots; Lucidlogix Virtu® MVP 2 support; onboard power, reset, BIOS reset, OC Genie, and GO2BIOS buttons; 2-digit diagnostic LED display; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

Continue reading our review of the MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming motherboard!

Subject: Motherboards
Manufacturer: ASUS

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Thanks for stopping by our coverage of the Intel Haswell, 4th Generation Core processor and Z87 chipset release!  We have a lot of different stories for you to check out and I wanted to be sure you knew about them all. 

  1. The Haswell Review - Intel Core i7-4770K Performance and Architecture
  2. PCPer Live! ASUS Z87 Motherboard and Intel Haswell Live Event! - Tuesday, June 4th we will be hosting a live streaming event with JJ from ASUS.  Stop by to learn about Z87 and overclocking Haswell and to win some motherboards and graphics cards!
  3. ASUS ROG Maximus VI Extreme Motherboard Review
  4. MSI Z87-GD65 Gaming Motherboard Review

 

Introduction

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Courtesy of ASUS

The Gryphon Z87 is a new form factor being introduced into the TUF (The Ultimate Force) board line with its micro-ATX stature. It does not lack for features in what it lacks for physical size though. ASUS packed this board full of features with the same stability and performance that you have all come to expect from a TUF series motherboard. By default, the Gryphon Z87 does not come with the Thermal Armor overlay, but the armor kit will be offered as an upgrade for a minimal additional outlay. We but the ASUS Gryphon Z87 board through its paces to get a fuller performance picture. At a retail price of $169.00, this board would make a nice addition to any small form factor or normal sized system.

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Courtesy of ASUS

The Gryphon Z87 is designed with an 8 phase digital power delivery system for the CPU to ensure the best performance and stability possible under any conditions. The following features are integrated into the board's design: six SATA 6Gb/s ports; an Intel I217-V GigE NIC; three PCI-Express x16 slots for dual-card support; one PCI-Express x1 slot; onboard power, reset, CMOS MemOK!, BIOS Flashback, and DirectKey buttons; and USB 2.0 and 3.0 port support.

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Courtesy of ASUS

Continue reading our review of the ASUS Gryphon Z87 motherboard!

Manufacturer: XSPC

Introduction and Technical Specifications

Introduction

The latest rage in CPU cooling seems to be the self-contained water cooler because of the cooling potential of these coolers without the noise of a comparable air-based cooling system. This is something that cooling enthusiasts have known for years with the custom water cooling solution heat dissipation capacity only rivaled by its varied composition. A typical custom water loop is comprised of a pump, CPU cooling block, and a radiator in its simplest form.

Today, we are looking at the impact of the radiator on the custom water cooling loop, specifically the affects of radiator thickness and fin density on the cooling efficiency of the cooling loop. For this testing, we are comparing a single Swiftech MCR 320-QP Radiator, dual Swiftech MCR 320-QP Radiators in series, and an XSPC RX360 radiator while keeping the pump, CPU cooling block, and coolant used constant between tests.

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RX360 Radiator
Courtesy of XSPC

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MCR 320-QP Radiator
Courtesy of Swiftech

Both radiators used in this comparison are in a 3 x 120mm form factor, supporting up to six total 120mm fans in a push / pull configuration. The Swiftech MCR 320-QP radiator is approximately half the thickness of the XSPC RX360 radiator, but has 150% more surface fin density (measured in fpi (fins per inch)). A thicker radiator can handle more coolant as well as spreading the coolant over a larger surface volume for cooling capacity, while a higher fin density allow for more effective heat dissipation via the cooling fans. However, there are negatives of each. A thicker radiator can inhibit coolant flow speed because of its larger capacity and and surface volume. On the other hand, higher fin density requires a higher CFM rated fan to effectively pass air through the radiator effectively.

Technical Specifications (taken from the XSPC and Swiftech websites)

 

XSPC RX360

Swiftech MCR 320-QP

Dimensions
(WxDxH)

124mm x 63mm x 400mm 128mm x 34mm x 402mm

Body Material

Copper Brass

Fin Material

Copper Copper

Fin Density

8 fpi 12 fpi

Port Size

G1/4 G1/4

Finish

Black Matt Satin black

Continue reading our radiator comparison review!